TECH TIPS: the right pneumatic set up for productivity and safety

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By Paula Bass, president, KBC Tools & Machinery

Whether you’ve been using air tools for decades and think it’s time to upgrade your setup or just getting started, here are 10 points to ensure you get the most from your tools:

1. Indoor or outdoor? Temperature fluctuations make a difference in which air hose you choose. Depending on where you are in North America there can be a huge fluctuation from summer to winter temps, and now with global warming you’ve got to be prepped for almost anything. Choose an air hose with great cold weather flexibility.

2. Time to lose some weight? When replacing components in your pneumatic set up or starting from scratch, consider the weight of the individual components to improve the ergonomics of everyday usage. One way to reduce the weight is to choose a lighter air hose, yet still gives you the integrity to go full throttle.

3. Turn, turn, turn. As the world turns, so should your air tool. Rather than connecting directly into your air tool, add in a whip hose with built in swivel to move the weight away from the tool and the user for better ergonomic use…and turn, turn, turn. Plus, the whip hose will prolong the life of the main air line.

4. Forward and reverse? If you’ve never had a retractable air hose reel, now is the time. Imagine having a car without the reverse function – life would be a lot harder, but we just take the benefits for granted now. No more manual rewinding, no more having to guide the air hose in while still cranking away with an industrial quality retractable air hose reel.

5. Wall, ceiling, or floor? Sometimes it’s not what you have, but where you put it that makes the difference. I still remember the first time I saw a shop with a clear workbench and all of the pneumatic tools hanging within reach from the ceiling waiting for the user to choose the tool needed – so clean, so neat, and so much space. If you choose a retractable air hose reel make sure that it has horizontal and vertical wall mount options so that it can be mounted on the wall, ceiling, floor, and workbench. If you choose a manual air hose reel make sure that you have room on the wall or workbench to mount it so that you can crank it easily without hitting your elbows. Manual air hose reels are a nice inexpensive option if you’re trying to save and don’t want to have a ceiling mount.

6. Extra! Extra! A little kink, fray, or hole can put you out of business. An extra air hose on the shelf can save you a frantic trip to your local industrial distributor or not getting your job done on time. Just sayin’.

7. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize! My mum wears a lot of black, and she knows the benefits of a great colorful scarf or pin to make the outfit. Well, even the best of pneumatic set ups are dead in the water without all the accessories /peripherals to make it go. Do you have the right: pneumatic tools, tool balancers, grinding stones, abrasives, drills, hole saws, sockets, impact tools, points, non woven abrasives, couplers, nozzles, air tool oil, PPE, carbide burrs, saw blades, quick disconnects, etc.?

8. Organize! Stop air tool hose and chord tripping hazards and eyesores with RapidTie rubber straps to make it easy to store and handle. Unlike using traditional bungy cords that can lead to splitting, fraying, scratching, and other damage, RapidTie is a non-marring vinyl flexible tie that easily expands up to 50% of its length. It’s oil resistant, non conductive, won’t tangle, and it won’t snap back at you like an alligator or a bungy cord.

9. Oil and water don’t mix! The biggest tip we can give you to ensure that your air line system is in good working order is to regularly pull the water condensation out of your air lines. Also, make sure that you oil your air tools and compressor on a regular basis to keep them working at top performance.

10. Rattling or clunking? Those are not the sounds you want to hear from your air compressor, the heart of your pneumatic operations. If you’re hearing a rattle, a clunk, or a wheeze it might be time to replace your compressor. Is your compressor usage way up? Do you have more users? It may be time to beef up your CFM.

KBC Tools & Machinery has been providing the metalworking industry with tools since 1965: cutting tools, indexable tooling, fluids, work holding, abrasives, measuring & inspection equipment, toolroom accessories, hand tools, shop supplies, power & air tools, and machinery. KBC is one of the leading metal cutting tool and machinery catalogue houses in North America with 3 locations in Canada: Mississauga, ON; Oldcastle, ON; and Delta, BC; and 4 in The U.S.A.: Sterling Heights, MI; Sterling Heights, MI Machinery Showroom; Elk Grove Village, IL; and Fullerton, CA;

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